British pilot Jean Cattin has won an Appeal Court ruling that his divorce from Brazilian wife Silvana should be heard in a British court.
At the original hearing in the High Court Family Division, Mrs Justice Parker had refused to block UK divorce proceedings begun by Mr Cattin, after his wife argued that the divorce should be heard in Brazil. The UK was the right place for the divorce to proceed, she ruled. Mr Cattin had been granted a decree absolute ending the marriage in August.
The judge noted that the couple had made differing claims about each other and ruled:
“[The UK] is the natural jurisdiction, the jurisdiction where the marriage, if not had its birth and its life, had a considerable period of its existence. The parties had been in Brazil for just a few days only… when the wife issued her proceedings there… it is quite unimaginable that the issues could be tried properly in Brazil.”
Mrs Cattin who is an orthodontist, appealed, asking the courts to cancel the divorce proceedings to date, saying that as a divorcee she would have difficulty re-entering the UKto contest contact and residency proceedings regarding the couple’s children. But Lord Justice McFarlane at the Court of Appeal rejected this argument, saying:
“If a lady wanted to come back to take part in proceedings that had been ordered to take place here, it is likely the Home Secretary would allow her in on some basis or other.”
He said the Court of Appeal could do very little in the case: “This couple are now, in the eyes of the English courts, divorced. The ability of the Court of Appeal to interfere is severely limited. The divorce has happened, she is no longer married.”
Mr and Mrs Cattin had been on a half-term holiday in Brazil when she refused to return to the UK following a row, forcing her husband to fly home alone. They had been married since 2007.
Photo of the Brazilian flag by Andre Maceira under a Creative Commons licence